on the final leg of our journey home from spain, the husband and i had decided to fly jet blue. the fare was right and the schedule fit in with our return. we knew it was a no frills airline but we had flown it before, from l.a. to new york, and always had a pleasant experience. in keeping with the current state of nickel and dime-ing among airlines, we had already agreed to pay an extra ten dollars a ticket, for two aisle seats with extra leg room, in the front of the plane. when we had to change our return flight and come home a week earlier (don't ask - pouring rain, sickness, cell phones that didn't work and business pressures) jet blue, in a one hour phone call from spain, informed me that there were no seats available in the front of the plane with extra leg room. we had no choice.
on arriving at the check in counter (we usually check in curb side but that now costs an extra ten dollars) we were told that, as of june 1st (it was june 1st), we had to pay another ten dollars for our extra bag. we paid the money (and we thought spain was expensive) and ran to make our flight. we boarded just in time but i still had to, as is my ritual, meet the pilots and make sure they were happily married, not suicidal and that there was no red on the radar, indicating a bumpy, and therefore scary, flight. the pilots assured me that despite the fact that there were tornadoes erupting all across the country from washington, d.c. to colorado, all would be well.
finally, we were seated, only to wait on the runway for an hour an a half, turning a six hour flight into one that took longer than flying to barcelona. once airborne, i shelled out five dollars for a vodka and one dollar for a "free" headphone. no longer free as of june 1st. once airborne, we proceeded to bump and jolt across the country. the seat belt sign flashing on and off like a las vegas slot machine. fifteen dollars worth of vodka later, we finally landed. i was drunk, jet lagged and starving. jet blue's offering of blue corn tortilla chips and chocolate chip cookies was not enough to offset the effects of the vodka combined with the turbulence. i just wanted out of the plane. not so easy. there are no jet ways at long beach airport and so we had to wait until there was an available staircase to allow us to get off. i was sure that any minute they were going to charge each of us, as of june 1st, ten dollars to deplane.
as we were walking off the plane and we said our perfunctory "bye bye's" to the flight attendant, i heard some one call "miss". since it has been a really long time since anyone has referred to me as a "miss" i kept walking. down the steps i tottered and as soon as my feet hit the pavement i felt a tap on my shoulder. i turned to see the pilot standing there with his hand outstretched. i looked at him with a blank stare. "i wanted you to have these" and held out his palm. he was holding a pair of wings. plastic wings. he was giving me a pair of plastic wings to apologize, i think, for the bumpy flight. "thank you" i stammered as we both just stood there, and then he said it "that will be ten dollars, as of june 1st". we both laughed and i waved goodbye. he waved back, but i don't think he was kidding.